Who is John Fassel? Everything You Need to Know About the L.A. Rams New Coach - NBC Southern California
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Who is John Fassel? Everything You Need to Know About the L.A. Rams New Coach

After John Fassel was named the new interim head coach of the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, many fans were left scratching their heads. NBC LA fills you in on everything you need to know about the new guy in charge.

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    Who is John Fassel? Everything You Need to Know About the L.A. Rams New Coach
    AP/Jayne Kamin-Oncea
    Los Angeles Rams interim head coach John Fassel addresses the media at the team's training facility at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Fassel, the team's special teams coach, will replace Jeff Fisher on an interim basis for the final three games of this season. The team's coach since 2012, Fisher compiled a 31-45-1 record with the Rams and oversaw the move from St. Louis to Los Angeles this past offseason. (AP Photo/Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

    Boy, that escalated quickly.

    Los Angeles Rams' special teams coach John Fassel hadn't even gone to sleep after the team lost to the Atlanta Falcons, 42-14, on Sunday at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, and was preparing for a Monday morning meeting, when he was called into Jeff Fisher's office.

    "It happened so fast," Fassel recalled. "I found out just about an hour before my special teams meeting. I talked to Mr. Demoff, and Coach Fisher, and they let me know that this was going to happen."

    The "This," he was referring to, was the decision that shook up, but did not necessarily surprise, the sports world on Monday afternoon as the Rams announced that they had fired Fisher as head coach of the team after five losing seasons, promoting Fassel as the interim head coach. 

    "The first thing I did was talk to Coach Fisher and basically asked what he thought and asked for his blessing," a doe-eyed Fassel said when faced in front of hundreds of media members and cameras. "I said to him, 'Coach me up, Coach Fish! And he told me everything that I needed to know."

    Fassel's run with the Rams over the final three games will be his first taste as an NFL head coach, but he comes from a long line of coaches, and has the pedigree to be successful in the role, both now and in the future.

    As Fassel spends the next 48 hours learning "everything he needs to know" to do the job, NBC LA fills you in on everything you need to know about the Rams new interim head coach.

    Fassel, 42, joined the Rams staff as the special teams coach at the same time Fisher took over in 2012. Over the past five seasons, his players have quickly become one of the best units in the NFL, and currently lead the league in punts and punt average this season.

    Through the use of All-Pro punter Johnny Hekker, Fassel has become an aggressive special teams coordinator, creatively manufacturing fake punt, fake field goal, and nifty trick plays on kick off returns.

    As we mentioned, Fassel has never had any previous head coaching experience, but is the son of former New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel, who led the G-Men from 1997 to 2003, including a Super Bowl appearance in 2000.

    Father Fassel gave John his first coaching gig in the NFL when he was the offensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens in 2005, as he helped his son get hired as an assistant to the Special Teams coordinator with the Ravens.

    Afterwards, Fassel spent three seasons as the special teams coordinator with the Oakland Raiders before joining Fisher and the Rams.

    Admittedly, Fassel was surprised that he was chosen by the organization as the interim head coach, especially with other candidates out there like defensive coordinator Greg Williams, assistant head coach Dave McGinnis, and linebacker coach Mike Singletary all considered more qualified candidates.

    "I was surprised," he said softly. "I'm grateful for it—although the situation isn't something that you want to be in, but they asked me to do it. Coach Fisher gave me his blessing, and I'll do it."

    Fassel said he had no previous aspirations of being a head coach in the NFL, but believes he's ready for the opportunity to show the league what he can do.

    He was obviously chosen by Rams owner Stan Kroenke and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff for a reason, one that comes down to Fassel's attitude, energy, and relationship with the players.

    "The players love him," Demoff told the media in a 45-minute press conference. "Our special teams is one of the best performing and his energy is great."

    All-pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald was emotional after the announcement that Fisher was fired, but excited that Fassel had been promoted in his place.

    "He's a player's coach. He's a great coach," Donald said from his locker. "He's going to push you and you're going to have fun doing it."

    In any other circumstance, an interim head coach could have between a week to two weeks to get familiar with the job and prepare his team for battle. However, in the case of Fassel, he had 72 hours from being informed of his new title, to Thursday night when the Rams take the field against the Seattle Seahawks.

    "I said to him, 'take these three games as, not only an audition for us, but for everybody else in the league and coach this team to the best of your ability,'" added Demoff. "And I think he'll take that challenge to heart and he'll get the best out of our players."

    Fassel has received plenty of advice from friends and former coaches in the aftermath of the announcement, and although he hadn't spoken to him as of Monday evening, he plans to grab the ear of his father and his vital knowledge of the game over the next few days.

    "I actually haven't talked to him," Fassel admitted. "I know it's horrible--I'll call you in a bit, Dad. I promise. It happened so fast, that I've neglected to call the people most important to me. But that will happen tonight."

    Perhaps Fassel's biggest challenge other than to get the Rams out of their current four-game losing streak, is to change the energy and emotion around the facility, one that starting quarterback Jared Goff admitted on Monday was "awkward," and "weird," throughout the day.

    "It was quiet today," acknowledged Fassel. "I don't think I can manufacture energy for the team. It's going to be something that will probably have to be built here over the next couple days. The best advice so far, from Coach 'Mac' [Dave McGinnis] was 'just be yourself,' if that helps create some energy, that's great—but I can't fake it."

    Indeed, "be yourself," a memorable line from the Robin Williams voiced Genie character in the Disney animated film Aladdin, could turn out to be the best advice of all as things will become overwhelming for Fassel in the next 48 hours.

    For fans that watched HBO's Hard Knocks this year, they might remember Fassel as the high-energy, enthusiastic, and encouraging leader of the special teams who was mic'd up at various times on the show.

    The video above is a great example of just what kind of coach Fassel could be, as he tries to salvage the final three games of the season. In order to do that, he's going to try and inspire his team, build off Fisher's foundation, and hold everyone accountable for the season so far.

    "This team doesn't need to be saved," Fassel said. "They need to rise up and take responsibility. If you love football and you love Coach Fisher, that has got to get us through the next three weeks."

    Fassel knows he'll make mistakes and that he has to learn as he goes, but if the same guy that once saved a man's life who was caught in a portentous Pacific Ocean riptide off the coast of Manhattan Beach last year appears on the sidelines, then the Rams will be fine.

    In the meantime, Fassel has already issued a new rallying cry for the team over the final three games.

    "Go Kick Some A**!" he said on multiple occasions during his introductory press conference. "I don't know if I'm allowed to say that. I say it in the meetings, but I don't curse."

    Go get em' Coach Fassel. 

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